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Salvation Army's platoon of volunteers thanked at banquet

March 23, 2007|by PEPPER BALLARD

HALFWAY - The Salvation Army of Washington County was able to help 54,104 people in 2006, an effort that did not go without community thanks Thursday during the organization's annual appreciation dinner.

About 150 people filled a room at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Halfway for the awards ceremony, which honored schools, clubs and individuals who helped the club last year.

"Thank you to all of the volunteers. You really made a difference, whether you were ringing the bells, collecting cans at the schools or were just helping out in general," said Chris Henry, chairwoman of the club's advisory board executive committee.

Member Ward Childerston said the Kiwanis Club, which took the first place "Doing the Most Good" bell ringer award, raised more than $6,000 for the club during the Christmas campaign.

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Bell-ringing awards were handed out to Kiwanis, Hagerstown Rotary and Hagerstown Exchange Club and to churches Otterbein United Methodist Church, which took first place in the church bell ringer category, St. John's Church Clear Spring Youth Group and Benevola United Methodist Church. Several other churches and clubs were honored for their help with certificates.

The Smithsburg High School Honor Society was also honored for its help ringing bells at Christmastime.

Many county schools participated in canned food drives in 2006: North Hagerstown High School, Boonsboro High School, Springfield Middle School, Northern Middle School, Hickory Elementary School and Old Forge Elementary School took home awards for their efforts.

Hickory Elementary School raised the most cans with 1,400, Childerston said. Each of the schools was awarded according to their school level.

Maurice F. Johnston, who was not present for the awards ceremony was named "Volunteer of the Year," an honor he earned for his help with maintenance programs and repairing and replacing items for the organization.

Childerston said Johnston is "Johnny on the Spot."

Maj. Robert Lyle told the crowd that the local Salvation Army was "able to feed over 100 people a day in the soup kitchen not because we're here, but because you're here ... God has raised up an army behind this Army."

Territorial cadets led by Majs. David and Susie Erickson sang and performed skits demonstrating how The Salvation Army "meets human needs while we share the word of Jesus."

Lyle said, "We see sinners come to Jesus. We see homeless no longer homeless ... all because we love Jesus Christ."

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